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i personally spend more time in a game when they offer a lot of classes and races. A lot more time than those restricted to only a few. Specially if each race has its own story and areas based on that race lore. The more they add the more i play them. I love making alts of different races and classes to get to know the lore from each race's perspective and try the new classes at the same time. I wish the mmorpgs that offer varied races and classes also offered a a unique experience based on race and the maps they come from (and i mean throughout the entire game, not jsut a 10 level starting zone).
Too bad a lot of mmorpgs only had a bunch of races for the sake of having more, but are totally meaningless towarads the lore of the game. Everyone begining in the same area, going through the same places, talking to the same npc, killing the same monsters, all that with every race is awful.
Shablagoo! Mint Berry Crunch!
lol for reals, I spent a lot of time playing all my characters in CoX. Depending on what I felt, I could be a hero and save people, or a villain and go rob banks and such. I really loved the freedom. And the Ninja Mastermind was epic! They need this class in every game hehe
Edit: I can't help but notice also that games that offer a lot of different classes seem to do better. DAoC, FFXI, CoX to name some favorites
I have 7 in GW2 even if one just is a mix between a chef and a mule....
But in CoX it was probably the number of character slots together with limited respeccing (compared to most MMOs, but that is based on me playing it for a week so I might be wrong) and loads of powers to choose from.
Some alts is sweet but once I get over 8 I kinda have a hard time connecting to them. I always have different personalities (my Charr mule is a mix of the Swedish chef and Animal from the muppets BTW but most my characters are way more serious) on each of them and if I have more than 8 they blend together or becomes stereotypical.
Originally posted by rojo6934
i personally spend more time in a game when they offer a lot of classes and races. A lot more time than those restricted to only a few. Specially if each race has its own story and areas based on that race lore. The more they add the more i play them. I love making alts of different races and classes to get to know the lore from each race's perspective and try the new classes at the same time. I wish the mmorpgs that offer varied races and classes also offered a a unique experience based on race and the maps they come from (and i mean throughout the entire game, not jsut a 10 level starting zone). Too bad a lot of mmorpgs only had a bunch of races for the sake of having more, but are totally meaningless towarads the lore of the game. Everyone begining in the same area, going through the same places, talking to the same npc, killing the same monsters, all that with every race is awful.
Agreed, each race deserves their own starting area at least. Preferably their own city as well.
With that you get the general feeling for the race.
As for classes they need unique mechanics or the game could just go for a few classes with many speccs instead. Most games could just have warrior, rogue, mage and possibly cleric and then offer loads of specializations to them as you play instead.
Many unique classes is fun though, but if you can't make that there is no reason to make silly mirror classes and slight variations with different names. Customizations and builds are more fun than classes anyways.
Great writing. I'm an avid altoholic, from the "who don’t care at all about endgame content" kind (moreso if the given game's so-called "endgame" is nothing more than dailies and gear grind).
I enjoyed the article, but I admit I disagree with many parts of it Like your "good reasons", raid and pvp... come on. Or, as Mirravin also wrote, the "flaws and culprits" which were quite the opposite actually. But I'm just an altoholic, so maybe I'm wrong. If I may shed some light on those "flaws" from my POV:
Character creation - even those who keeps calling them Craptic usually admits, character creation is one of Cryptic's strength. CoH's creator was awesome, especially back then. I've made many alts just for goofing around with the different options (true, most of them were deleted later on, it was only for the looks). Nowadays in STO with the many BOffs I just love to playing around with the editor, which I guess is derived from CoH (especially the aliens part)
Power sets - as someone who likes "theory crafting" the power system was an infinite playground. At least seemed infinite back in the days, compared to the competition. (actually that's why I followed them to CO after the breakup, Freeform was like a dream coming true to me). Trying out different sets, experimenting the builds, it's almost a game in itself.
It's a bit ironical, that the new "goal" for today's mmos you've mentioned later in the column, to fight back altoholism, was reached to the closest by TSW, and they reached it with the simpliest solution: you can have every ability, in one character. It's like Freeform with an infinite respec option. Of course I have 3 characters in TSW nevertheless of that system, for the different costume sets... but hey, I like to have alts.
Starting character slots - don't even know how can that be a flaw It should be put on every game designer 101 lesson somewhere: there's no such thing as too many character slots. Ever. And of course every slot needs to be filled sooner or later.
"I have to get that on all X of my characters before the event is over!" - oops... I think I too maybe said something like that, during the way... sorry for that but even if I did, that was the exception, in most cases I love festivals, unique events, timed events, etc. in games. It could be tough to get everything, but that's a task someone with alts must take.
I guess I have been influenced heavily by CoH being my first MMO, but I can never understand players that only roll a single character in a game.
Why limit yourself to seeing only part of the story? I'm currently playing SWTOR and the first thing I did was create one character of each base class so I could (eventually) see all the storylines for myself.
You also get a chance to experience all the different play styles. In CoH my favoured classes were scrappers, tanks, brutes. If I hadn't been such an altoholic I would have missed out on the awesomeness that was my Earth/Earth Dominator, my Dark/Dark Defender, my Mind/Kin Controller.
End game in most MMOs is grinding the same instances/dailies over and over and over every day. Why not use that time instead to experience more of the game? Yes, logging 50+ characters to get and anniversary badge took an entire evening's gameplay and yes, there were evenings I never made it past the character select screen, but I always had a character that suited my mood that evening (or I could create a new one).
That was what kept CoH so fresh for so long, and why so many other games get boring so quickly in comparison.
I agree with others here, Matt, I can't understand why you see altoholism as a problem. We can quit any time we want.
Saying that it's a problem implies that there is a wrong style of play and a right style, it's shutting off people who like creating a lot of characters and exploring options.
To me CoH was unique in that I created character concepts and backgrounds for it. In most MMO's my character is just a generic PC. It was the setting plus the huge amount of costume options which encouraged me to make my CoH characters unique. Sometimes these concepts weren't that fun to play in practice, but even if I didn't play them even to level 10 I still liked them and enjoyed seeing them on the character selection screen.
Take this out and you take out player creativity from the game. You suddenly get a lot of characters which look the same, dress the same. Have you ever played another game where you just saw a character and wanted to know more about them? In CoH it was pretty common in my experience to find interestingly costumed characters and check the info screen for their background.
Limit the reasons to create alts, and you push aside all this interesting stuff in favour of players who just want to go through content, or reach the endgame, or PvP. Sure, these are parts of the MMO experience, but they are not the only viable parts.
In Rift, I still have eight characters. Every character I create has a theme or personality to it that often precludes it from being able to do everything. My Dwarf druid for instance and my Mathosian paladin. I couldn't see making a paladin who worships the Vigil on the Defiant side.
Even now, I am thinking about how many characters I would want to create in EQNext. One for all the arcane magic, one Human paladin/knight type, one druid ranger type and so forth.
I'm altholic in my games and I'm a customization nut. If the game doesn't offer customization I would not even consider buying it which pretty much covers most modern MMOs. You can never make the gameplay so good that I would consider buying the game if it lacks the tools to create unique characters - and here's the key why I'm altoholic.
I create characters with different concepts so I need those different character slots. For example in CoH my science tech blaster is very different character from my mage themed mystic blaster. Both are blasters but they are completely different characters. The concept behind both is different. Even if you allowed to change whole archetype (or class or race) on the fly it would no feel right to do so because when I created the character I had a concept in mind. Switching your character to something different on the fly would negate the core of what he or she is - unless I want to completely reimagine the character.
This is the same reason why I could never play character with a stupid name. I would not feel any sort of connection to them and if I don't feel the connection there's really no point playing the character.
Customization and the level of choices is what kept me playing CoH for more than five years. I didn't much care for the slow gameplay (I prefer GW2 style relaxed active combat). If someone created GW2 style superhero MMO with better designed dynamic events, level-less zones and combined it with CoH level customization options for character appearances and powers... well. That would be *the* superhero game for me.
I somewhat like where the the Phoenix Project from missing world's media can potentially go. However they aim to replicate CoH style slow combat and (in my opinion) bad multiple-identical powers system and that's pretty much the deal breaker for me.
Ideally if you want to limit something limit the choice of powers but make them more interesting and customizable. Why have ice bolt, ice blast, bitter ice blast when you can have just a single ice blast which can be modified for your needs.
My main reason for alts is crafting. In almost every MMO you are restricted to the number of craft professions that you can have on a character. Yes, in most of them you can switch, but you will lose progression when you do. I basically end up with an alt for leatherworking, an alt for blacksmithing, an alt for alchemy, etc.
Another reason I like alts is to help leveling. What do you do with the green/blue gear that you cannot use for your class? Send it to your alt. Sure I could sell it but sometimes you get something cool that is not soulbound and would like to use it. I am always sending money, crafting materials and other things to my alts to speed up leveling.
The final reason that I like alts is because of the "class de joure" (I don't speak French so pardon if it is mispelled). This was a big reason why I had so many alts in WOW. This week the lock got nerfed - switch to my DK. Next week the DKs got nerfed - switch to my druid, etc. I HATE nerfs so this is the way that I stayed sane (at least until the talents were butchered in CATA).
Honestly. To me City of Heroes was always about Creativity.
Creating your story, creating your unique look, creating your style.
That "lack of choices" in other games does get me to Max Level (sometimes). And then I want to quit the game. City of Heroes was one of the two MMOs that kept my attention for multiple years (the other was EVE, because of the massive player interactions), and the only one that kept me coming back sporadicly (until it was cancelled).
Altism was a way to explore my personal creativity. In the golden years of CoH/CoV there was always the lure of yet another costume contest, yet another story to play out. Honestly I wish CoH had focused more on that. Made story not just content to be experienced, but something to be lived by the character. I wish the game had really embraced altism to its fullest with different choices influencing your character and the way you were recieved. Something like "milestone missions" that had a drama effect (even if it didn't influence gameplay).
Altism in CoH wasn't a flaw. It was a feature.
P.S: People weren't complaining because you were adding content. They were complaining because you were adding GRIND (and event-based grind too. So you can't spread it out over time. Would have been a lot less complaints if they knew with certainty that the event was coming back next year and the year after that). Not all new content is new grind, and MMO creators (or game creators in general) often seem to be unable to tell the difference.
Hi everyone, My name is Davo, and i'm an Altoholic! For me the biggest thing for alts, especially with CoX, was i'd get an idea, an idea of a hero or villain, and then end up developing a character and so forth from that.
It's not limited to CoX, I end up doing it with others, like EQ2, GW2, SW:ToR etc. I'd get an idea of what I want a toon to look like, behave like, and end up developing from that. Problem is, my moods vary, so do my characters, so more alts come along.
lately the multi-class trend has come along, games like FFXIV:ARR and EQ:NEXT are allowing me to have multiple classes on the same toon, but I fear that it still won't feel the same, and my mood will shape what I want to play. Not just class but looks aswell. Time will tell I guess.
Great article btw, and I miss CoX, was an awesome ride while it lasted!
Originally posted by fiendishrabbit
Honestly. To me City of Heroes was always about Creativity. Creating your story, creating your unique look, creating your style. That "lack of choices" in other games does get me to Max Level (sometimes). And then I want to quit the game. City of Heroes was one of the two MMOs that kept my attention for multiple years
That "lack of choices" in other games does get me to Max Level (sometimes). And then I want to quit the game. City of Heroes was one of the two MMOs that kept my attention for multiple years
^^ Devs'll get the right message, eventually.
We've just been seeing an awful lot of clearly very lazy coding for the last decade. They want their games smaller, faster, easier to support, cut the staff costs, cut them again.
Sure you can cover a server with a single CS gm-on-rotation shared with two other servers, sure you can. Players won't notice that their services have deteriorated. They won't notice that no one worries about Character Customization any more, because it's one of the Expensive things your game cut from it's budget.
Huh. Why doesn't anyone play our game past six months? Who cares, Cash Shop, a few mules will carry the rest!
Can you say Self-Defeating? Pyrrhic victory for the Beancounter department?
Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.
(TLDR: I like alts. Alts = Good. Many Alts = Many Good.)
I loved the encouragement to Alt in CoX. I played since November 2006, to the end, with a couple of month-long breaks in there, but nearly continuous otherwise. It was in my mind that I would enjoy my retirement with some version of COH, with my long-time friends playing right alongside in the nursing home, lol.
I started with my focus on one character, an Archery blaster. I played that character nearly all solo, for the entire 50 levels (and that when the archery AT was considered VERY subpar.) I sat down to play and felt akin to the character – vulnerable to attack, but powerful when I set the stage – I played to establish set piece encounters, performed a ritual of buffing before my attack, then unleashed cataclysmic devastation on my enemies. Heady stuff.
I enjoyed participating in group content more and more the longer I played, then learned the very basic ins and outs of stuff like Hami raids, and later enjoyed the more extensive endgame stuff like ITF, LRSF, etc. But being a glass cannon kept me on the periphery of understanding as well as the actual periphery of combat.
But then I decided to try the Brute AT. TALK about eye-opening! I went from Squishy to Nigh-Invincible! (Well, ‘semi-nigh’ – Dark/Fire Brute was one of the squishier Brutes to be had.) But where before I stayed as far as possible due to safety, this character thrived on being punched! It was GLORIOUS! I found visceral joy in thumping the badguys. And it gave me an understanding of how things actually worked in combat that I hadn’t had before – ‘nova’-attack timing, aggro-generation, focus-attacking… I never would have understood these things without firsthand experience. And I really started gruping and making friends, and I also started to see the value in other aspects of the game. This gave me great ideas for other alts…
I started to look around and wanting to experience what I considered the (forgive me) “Archetypal” archetypes of CoH – the ones that defined the game in my eyes. At the end, I had a number of them:
Rad/Electric Defender – love this character. Claims to fame: Part of a 6-man Rad/* team that beat Lusca PRE-IOs. (I missed the 5-man effort.). Also, when people asked this character to heal, he told them in essence “to get another runt, I don’t heal.” His debuffs made healing all but irrelevant in most cases.
Ill/Rad – My Stephen Colbert homage character. I had always thought this AT was super-tough, then when I played him, I felt it was like playing on Easy mode.
Stone/Stone tank – this, besides my Archer character, was my most played character in the whole game, though I played him mostly toward the end of my career. He was my Hami raid character, and I went from Hami-plinker with my archer to Mito-Raid leader and Hami-Tanker when I began playing him at the raids. This guy is the guy with whom I learned the intricacies of COH raids. As strong as my brute felt, this guy was almost literally invincible.
Fire/Fire blaster – FAST damage!! As much as I loved my archer, I had to give my Fire/Fire credit for just impressive ‘burnination’. I even got rid of the nuke – it just slowed me down! (To be fair, the crash was the culprit – after literal years of Archery’s vastly underappreciated crashless mini-nuke, I was spoilt.)
In the end, I wanted to try more of these iconic types (I never tried the Spines/Regen scrapper of Lore, and I regret it, as well as the Plants controller, no stalkers) But every time I tried something new, I learned a lot about the interrelationship between the characters.
I didn’t have stories for all my characters, and I feel like I enjoyed them nearly equally whether they did or not –but I usually had a basic ‘reason’ or ‘feel’ for the character. The Rad/Elec was a stumpy guy with a stogie and an attitude. I had a Mastermind who was a deposed royal. My archer was a slight female character who was like a compact nuclear warhead with her arrows. My brute occasionally went shirtless and reveled in his violence. My Ill/Rad was very sarcastic and self—contradictory. (more, omitted for time) I had a character for nearly every contingency to group – except when a Healer was required – I loathe healer ATs – which is one reason to love CoX. It was all great fun.
So Alting was great. I wish the games I enjoy (Until recently, SWTOR [Star Wars]; now, STO[Star Trek Online]) were more alt-friendly.I think being alt friendly (and delaying endgame until later) may cost you the ‘power’ players in the short run, but gain you loyalty and longevity in the long run. (And I am dubious about the value of those power-players in the first place. They’re the exploiters, the ‘race-to-50-NOW-what-do-i-do????’ crowd, the ones who have better things to do than read and comprehend the story, the ones who demand new content when there are megabytes of content already there. I’ve seen enough of those in SWTOR to last me a while.)
The people who complained about needing to collect all of the badges on all the characters that you mention were either OCD (no help), or just silly (polite word). Either way, it’s a nice problem to have, providing players with more stuff to do. They probably only felt that way because they wanted each and every character to be GREAT. You guys accomplished the goal – to make your players WANT to play the game. NCSoft missed that clue. More, please!
i gave up on having a 'main' quite some time ago and i actually never played CoH for anything longer than a trial.
i still don't see the need to have a 'main'. i play games for one reason only: fun. if im not enjoying it, why am i doing it? there are plenty of things IRL that i have to do which i do not enjoy.
what this means is if having a single main and remaining focused creates a fun experience in your gaming, then by all means do that. if not then don't.
"There are at least two kinds of games.One could be called finite, the other infinite.A finite game is played for the purpose of winning,an infinite game for the purpose of continuing play."Finite and Infinite Games, James Carse
Originally posted by galadiman
I wish the games I enjoy (Until recently, SWTOR [Star Wars]; now, STO[Star Trek Online]) were more alt-friendly.
I wish the games I enjoy (Until recently, SWTOR [Star Wars]; now, STO[Star Trek Online]) were more alt-friendly.
In STO's defence I'd like to add that its non-alt-friendly, quasi-classless setting is backed by the lore... Any captain can fill any "role" (as in tank, heal, support, dps) with the right ship and crew. True, min-maxers will choose the best fitted captain for themselves, but it's not mandatory at all.
And while STO is not encouraging alts, it doesn't hinder them either, I have numerous captains roaming the quadrants
This turned out to be a little long-winded, but hopefully it's vaguely interesting.
I don't think alt-itis is a problem at all - at least not in CoH. Maybe in other games, but it was a HUGE strength of CoH.
You seem to make the argument that alts are antithetical to end game (or vice versa). Maybe in the current iteration of "end game", but maybe that can (should) be changed. And why the love for this magical "end game" anyways? Yeah, I have mains that I level to cap, and many alts that sometimes languish, but that's more a result of games that don't have variety than a lack of desire to play alts, and the fact that PvP is often so dependent on high-level gear that it would be terrible to get it on more than one character.
The big question I have is this: is there a monetary or some other incentive for MMO designers to keep people on only one character? Is server space at that much of a premium that you can't afford to allow it, or is there some other reason that alt-itis is a problem? Or is the only problem people complaining about doing something too many times? Because that's a problem in MMOs, period. The grind and repetitiveness that have been a hallmark of MMOs is a bad thing whether it's on one character or many - it's just exacerbated when a player has many alts.
As far as CoH is concerned, the reason I made alts was largely because of the character creator. The combination of ultimate costume freedom and the many powers allowed me to explore TONS of super hero concepts.
Several things I like about alts, particularly in relation to CoH:
1. CoH's character creation was amazing, and supported tons of different ideas and costumes for characters. Alts made creating them all possible. You say that sometimes people make alts because they are "bored" - maybe in some games, but in CoH, it was often just to play with the character creator. If I wanted a super speeder, I could make one. A knight? Made one. Mystic warrior from another dimension? Made one too. Sure, I could have given one character all three costumes, but that wouldn't have made sense except with a very particular set of powers.
2. The powers. Even in a game like STO, where half the combat (space) is largely dependent on gear (ship) rather than character abilities, there's still three alt-ing options. Having alts is a great way to try out the different powers, and give my gameplay some variety. If I don't like one particular class, I can roll an alt and try a different one - and once I learn the game a bit better, maybe I'll go back and try the class I didn't like, with a character I've already started. Some games don't offer the same variety as CoH, but in CoH at least that was a HUGE draw for making alts. Different archetypes and power sets offered completely different styles of play.
3. The story. One of the great strengths of early CoH was the fact that there were ten (TEN) different starting contacts. Yes, it was only five different story arcs, but it really made each character feel like a different experience. One of the reasons it took me so long to make a villain was because I had to do the same exact two contacts over and over and OVER as I tryed to find a powerset I liked.
That's one SEVERE weakness of STO - every single character of a faction does the exact same missions. I'm sure it saves time or resources or whatever, and the circumstances of the license's time frame probably didn't help, but it would certainly be VERY nice to be able to do some missions that weren't escorting Ambassador Sokketh again (and relying on UGC like the Foundry shouldn't count or substitute for MMO developers making their own missions). Part of the reason Romulans and Klingons after Legacy of Romulus were great for me is the fact that they were new and different - but I'm discouraged from making more of them since i know it'll be just the same stuff again.
4. Speaking of story, alts give people a chance to have different stories. This is obviously more for the RP type crowd, but since some MMOs still have "RPG" attached to them, it should be important. Remember how in number 1 I said it wouldn't make sense for all those costumes to be on the same character? That's because of story. One of the great things about CoH was that it allowed people to create multiple characters with multiple backstories. Each costume in number 1 goes to a different character with a different story. The amount of costume slots meant I could make variations on their costume, without completely erasing the original, or even give them civilian clothes, which is a great thing. The amount of character slots meant that I could actually make all these characters, without being forced to put a knight costume and a super speeder costume on the same character.
So that's why alts were great! Because of the costumes and the sheer volume of content, alt-ing was definitely one of the STRENGTHS of, and NOT a "problem" for, CoH. What I don't understand is your fixation on "end game" content. In many MMOs, "end game" consists of doing the exact same high-level raid or dungeon or whatever over and over and OVER again. Players figure out the most efficient way to do things, and go through them as fast as possible. Have you seen the Paragon Wiki articles on the Incarnate Trials? They have NO story content - it's all about the mechanics. Most people didn't even bother to read the dialogue pop ups in the Incarnate Trials, because they were busy trying to keep up with the group as it tore through enemies to get to the gear as fast as possible.
Why should this be the case? Why are so many games fixated on having players run through "difficult" content over and over again? Rather than creating something at the level cap for players to aspire to doing over and over and OVER again, why not focus on creating stories for players to go through at earlier levels? That was one of CoH's strengths - the amount of different story missions as I leveled up. What passes for "end game" doesn't appeal to me as much as actually playing and reading mission stories - because going through the ground map in STO's Khitomer STF as fast as possible for the thousandth time is kind of boring.
That's the thing about "end game" and repetitive content - even if I can make hundreds of different characters, like I could in CoH, the thought of facing the exact same crap yet AGAIN actively discourages it. Is there some reason for this? Is there a monetary incentive to keep players on just one character? I just can't fathom it.
In regards to your question, I tend to take one character to max level, and have many alts that I gradually level up. Part of that is emotional investment - I tend to be attached to my "main". Part of it, however, is the above mentioned repetitiveness of content. That's probably the biggest turn off for leveling up alts. When new content is released, I'll do it on my main, and then as I get around to it on my alts - I don't want to get burned out on it right away by doing it however many times in a row (not to mention the fact that I have limited time to play games).
As far as events go, I'll grab whatever reward or accolade is available for my main, and depending on the reward on some of my alts. In CoH, there were badges for logging in - I grabbed those because all it took was a log in. The other stuff (in CoH and STO) was way too time intensive to do on multiple characters, so I grab the items on my main, and figure I'll do it on my alts eventually. One of the nice things about event items is that other than badges or whatever for being there in a specific year, the actual items are going to be available year after year, so that players who weren't there can get them too.
Of course, it would certainly be easier if the rewards were shared through an account - I was there, after all, wasn't I? Why should I have to do the same exact holiday event umpteen times just to get a bauble on all my alts? The answer here isn't "Don't make alts" - I like making alts. The answer is apparently "because MMO creators want you to spend time in their game, even if you're doing the same thing for the hundredth time and don't necessarily enjoy it." Or perhaps it's "because gear is the most important thing in an MMO, and can't be handed out on an account-wide basis, even if it's some sort of holiday gear that doesn't affect normal game play." Playing through normal content on every alt I can understand (although it would help if there was actually variety in it, like in early CoH). But I don't get why events are character-limited. Given their time-limited nature, people should get credit for being there, on any character.
Another part of the reason I tend to have one main is PvP. Because PvP is often so gear-centric, and gaining the best gear is really only feasible on one character, it makes it hard to create PvP alts. I like to PvP, partly for the challenge, and partly because it represents something different from the PvE grind. Once I've exhausted the PvE portion of a game, PvP is really all that's left in most games. And even then it's often not enough to hold me.
I think more people should read the article about EVE and its end game: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/132877/the_icelandic_model_of_mmo_.php?print=1 If you read that article, you'll note that it has a different idea on what "end game" is than most MMOs currently have. Rather than focusing on traditional "content" such as raids or bosses or quests, it notes that EVE (and other games) have a sandbox and feature-centric endgame. A game that allows people to keep exploring and experience new things is certainly going to keep players more engaged than a game that requires the same rote high level dungeon running over and over and OVER again.
Of course, it's possible that the sandbox end game is even more antithetical to alts than traditional MMO gameplay. In traditional MMOs, you make an alt to experience a different class, a different style of gameplay, even if you have to run through the same missions again. In a sandbox, you don't need to create an alt to experience new things - so why create an alt at all? In CoH, the answer was "the character creator's ability to allow for many different character concepts." In other games, if you enjoy the end game, whether its sandbox or traditional, maybe there's no reason to create an alt. And perhaps that's where your thinking has gotten messed up - alt-itis may be a problem in other games, but it was a HUGE strength of CoH.
I think alts are great. If the class system, character creation, and leveling content are all fun and robust, you have an MMO foundation that will drive players to create and play several different characters. Ideally, this will greatly increase the longevity of the game. There are two other factors that must be present for this to be true, however.
First, leveling must take a long time. It doesn't have to be grindy; players should be able to engage in a multitude of gameplay modes and encounter real challenges while leveling - that is, that shouldn't all be reserved for end game - it's just paramount that max level cannot be obtained within a mere few weeks of casual play. If leveling is too fast, you will find players may blow through all the alts they wish to create within the game's first few months, leaving them with nothing to level years down the road.
Second, there must be some truly riveting stuff to do at max level for all player types. While I love alts, I also agree with the concept of a "main." Players should feel driven to play lots of different gameplay modes at "end game" in pursuit of some kind of relevant, but non-alienating progression (ie. not a super steep vertical gear treadmill that immediately renders all previous progression obsolete.)
If leveling takes a long time, but is still always fun and not grindy, and if players are given a ton of content to play at end game and are driven to do so, then the game will hold players attention for a very long time on just one character. Then, when all that stuff starts to wear off a bit several months down the road, creating an alt to change things up can reinvigorate the player's game experience; but once again, leveling this alt should take considerable time, and the player should still want to log on and play his/her main character throughout the process, which would make it last even longer.
I think if you find players level three, four, six characters to max level within the first half year of the game's release, the game may be in trouble in the long run. The game may have its work cut out for itself if it wants to continue to give players enough content to play for years to come.
First, let me start out by saying: don't ever beat yourself up about any design choices for CoH. It was my favorite game of all time - not MMO, not video game, game. It combined the best of every single hobby I've ever participated in in my entire life, and it was still getting better when it closed.
On the alt-itis subject, for me, it was the journey, not the destination. I had loads of alts in CoH, and - as has been said - no two of them played the same. That's something which is just not possible to do in most games, where two characters of the same class will always play more or less exactly the same, unlike the stark differences between a Super Strength/Invulnerability Brute compared to a Staff Fighting/Super Reflexes Brute (or, for a more dramatic difference, a Defender with Storm Summoning compared to one with Empathy), and that's before incorporating Power Pools, Ancillary/Patron Power Pools, and Incarnate powers to mix things up even more.
And then add to that the two different sides worth of content (yeah, I know Heroes were far more popular than VIllains, but I was primarily a Villain player), and the fact that you really couldn't do EVERY mission arc on a single character (at least, not without heavy dipping into side-switching and Oroborous), it meant that even going from 1 to 50 again a second (or third, or tenth, or fiftieth) time was a different experience even aside from the actual character you were playing.
I have always had alt-itis, even when playing tabletop D&D with friends or freeform IRC RP. CoH just let me express that alt-itis better than any other format.
This article just made me remember once again how much I miss CoH, even nearly a year after the announcement of the game's closing.
if i have to make an "Alt" in a MMORPG in order to get my hands on all the features and things the game has to offer the game is broken and if i have to make an alt when i want to change my appearance the game is broken
and if the game is so easy that i reach the end of my characters progression in 3 months and have to make an alt in order to have new things happen the game is broken
the ability to make multiple characters should never be considered as a "Fun factor" or an actual in game Feature that grabs the attention (selling point?)
sure the game can allow it but please dont advertise it as a Feature or a game mechanic like that is supposed to make the game unique
when your alts can serve as a NPC helpers for the main char or some other similar mechanic maybe then i will agree that making alts could be fun
and what comes to maple story i can accept what they are doing since the skills of the characters get pretty boring quite fast so why not roll an alt for a change of pace and reap the benefits from it for the "main"
please dont start raging this is just my opinion and therefore feel free to ignore
Have to disagree about Rift not being alt-friendly. You can have up to 12 characters per shard now, though it will cost you to add anything more than six. And the primary reason to have alts in Rift is crafting, because your characters are limited to three of nine unless you buy more (having more than three is a new feature since patch 2.3 and quite expensive).
In my experience, the reason to level alts is curiosity about how other factions and races start out, and their newbie zone experience and lore.